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The Hidden Hand

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Shinobi Rising". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Halloween is over, so what happens now to our Slayer and her friends turn ninja? Will things be easier or will the evil unleasted be to much for them?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > NarutoAlphaBetaFR152990,862913250,4147 Dec 082 Aug 11Yes


Disclaimer: See chapter one

Authors note: Sorry for the delay. We lost the first 3 pages of this story and had to rewrite it. Also my co-author has started collage and has a job to go along with that, but it looks like we have found a way to still meet. So it looks like me might be able to to back to getting a chapter out every two weeks. Though, do not be surprised if it takes 3 or 4 weeks every once in a while. Just please continue to be patient. Also, please continue to send reviews on how we are going. We can only improve if you find something that can be improved. Ideals are also still welcomed!

On The Docks:

“All right, people, that’s it,” calls a humanoid-looking demon that has large bug-like eyes. He slaps the back of the truck. The truck does not move. He turns and cups his hands over his mouth. “Get ready to go, men!” The vampires on the boat rearrange the deck quickly with equipment and replacing the technology with fishing gear. The demon stalks to the front of the truck and yells, “Hey! I said that’s…it.” His large compound eyes blink while he stares at the mangled corpses of his coworkers, the scent of blood assailing his small nose. “Someone’s here! Back to the boat!” he shouts. There is a glint of light and then his arm falls off. He grabs onto the bleeding stump and yells in pain. His head hits the ground with a splatter a moment later. Blurs appear around the vampires running towards the boat.

Slicing sounds followed by poofs of dust and demonic bodies collapsing to the ground limbless and headless fill the area. Only one vampire remains standing, despite being pushed back a few inches by the kunai pressing against the undead’s short sword. Harmony grins and remarks, “You blocked it! Not bad. Let’s see how skilled you are.” She hops back with her kunai ready. Her free hand scatters shuriken at him and follows close after them. The vampire frowns in concentration and deflects each of the incoming blades. He jumps back and dodges her kunai’s slice. They run at each other and jump into the air, clashing again. They separate again and land. Harmony smirks and the vampire turns into a pile of ash. “Apparently not skilled enough. Too bad,” she finishes.

The vampires on the boat stare down at the docks to see three sets of cold eyes gazing back at them. “It’s them!” a vampire woman screams while running down the stairs of the boat to the hold. She pauses on the railway when she feels a sharp pain in her neck. Her scream is heard along with a loud poof. A giant shuriken sticks out of the wall at the level of her throat. Two vampire men dressed in what they would consider cool clothing, though it was probably cool in the eighties, rush to the stairway, only to be faced with a masked, black-clad figure.

“Who are you?” the first vampire shouts. The figure does not respond. His hands lash out and grab onto both of their heads before they can react. They have time to grab onto his hands to try to get away when he squeezes. Blood that explodes from their skulls turns into dust before it can hit the ground.

The figure walks slowly up onto the top deck and is met by an identical being. They exchange nods and the first intones, “Lady Tsunade, this is NS #3. We have cleared the vessel. This boat is not going anywhere. Orders?”

“Good,” the android hears in his earpiece. “Stand guard where you can see the truck and boat easily.”

“Affirmative,” Night Sentinel #3 answers. He hops away.

Tsunade continues, “NS #4, join him.” Releasing the talk button, Joyce turns around to face her team. Willow is holding a large wooden box with Harmony poking it with a kunai. The truck behind them has opened crates of shuriken, ninja wire, kunai, and other ninja equipment.

“It doesn’t look like much,” Harmony mumbles.

“Maybe not,” Joyce admits. “But, these vampires and demons shouldn’t have this ninja equipment or the skills necessary to use them. Someone is supplying them with tools and information and training. What’s in that box?”

Willow smirks, “I thought you’d never ask.” She pries it open with one hand and raises an eyebrow. “Tsunade, why would they want an arm?”

“What?” Joyce inquires, stepping forward to see. Harmony looks over just as the arm leaps out of the box at Willow’s throat, but Joyce catches it in midair. She frowns and pushes it back into the box, slamming it shut.

The sentinels appear next to them. “Are you alright, Lady Tsunade?” asks NS #4.

“I’m fine. Go back to your posts,” Tsunade orders. Suddenly, a hand rips through the chest of NS #3. The robot is lifted off the ground and thrown into his partner. They both skid back into a pile of crates, which collapse on top of them. The team takes a step back and sees James in his second curse seal stage. “Scatter!” They leap in different directions, throwing kunai as they jump. He grabs two of the kunai and blocks the others with them. Harmony and Willow throws handfuls of shuriken at him.

Blocking all of them with ease, James grunts, “My turn.” He throws up a handful of kunai strait up and shouts, “Ninja Art: Kunai Surprise!” The kunai multiply until they fill they sky. They rain down on the girls, the darkness working to James’ advantage. They block as many as they can while dodging the rest. Joyce notices James making a hand sign. She quickly looks down at the kunai to see paper bombs wrapped around them. “Hai!” he shouts.

“Up!” she shouts, jumping high into the air, followed closely by Willow. The kunai explode in rapid succession. They hear a scream and look through the smoke to see Harmony being thrown into a pile of crates by the explosions and debris.

James sneers loudly, “One down. Two to go.”

The Sanin lands and starts to approach Harmony when she remembers James. She turns quickly. James is close against the redhead with his fist in her stomach. Opening his hand, he sends her flying across the docks towards her. “Stupid! Enemy first, injured second,” she grunts while catching Willow. James throws a smoke bomb onto the ground, quickly creating a thick smokescreen in the darkness. A flashbang tag goes off as well, causing her to step back and rub her eyes. Blinded, she flings Willow over her shoulder and slams her fist into the ground. The shockwave from the punch sends chunks of cement flying in all directions while clearing away the smoke. As her eyes adjust, Joyce looks around, but both James and the arm box are gone.

Joyce looks around the battlefield to determine everyone’s condition. Placing the redhead gently onto the ground, she kneels beside Willow and examines her. After finding out that she is merely unconscious and bruised, she moves over to Harmony who is lying on the ground moaning in pain. Concrete debris litters her body and burn marks are scattered across her skin. Opening each eye and looking into them, she determines that Harmony has a concussion along with the visible damage. She does hand signs and begins a healing jutsu.

“What should I do, Lady Tsunade?” a roboninja inquires.

Joyce answers, “Call the back up team in and the other sentinel bots. Whoever gets here first will provide backup until the other arrives. Once the first team arrives, take the sentinel to be repaired. We will go to the library once the second team arrives to escort us.”

“By your command,” the robot drones.

She stares at it for a long moment before muttering, “I’ve got to talk to Warren about which sci fi shows he allows to influence the programming.”

Five minutes later, the backup team arrives. Kendra, Jenny, and Amy relieve the two robots which are sent back to base for repairs. “What happened?” Amy asks, looking around. “You started world war three without me? I’m hurt!”

“Not now, Amy,” Joyce sighs. “I’ll explain everything once we get back to the library.” A few minutes later, the duo of sentinels arrive. Satisfied with her students’ physical conditions, Kendra and Joyce pick them up for transportation to the library. On the way, she calls Giles on her cell phone. “Giles, meet me at the library ASAP. Call in everybody.”

“Got it,” is the response before they both hang up.

They reach the library without incident. Twenty minutes later, the teams come in one by one. Once everyone is seated, Angel walks in and sits down. Andrew scowls at him and announces, “Angel! You did that on purpose!”

“Did what?” Angel stares at him blankly.

“You stood outside the door until everyone was inside so that you would be the last one!”

“I don’t recall,” Angel states.

Andrew stands up and points at him accusingly, “You’re Kakashi all over again!”

“But I am Kakashi,” Angel eye smiles.

“You are worse than Kakashi!” Andrew shouts.

“Be quiet or I will go Scourge of Europe on your hide,” Angel informs him in a bored tone.

Andrew’s chest puffs out. “I’m not afraid of Angelus!”

“Are you afraid of Kakashi with Angelus’ influence?” Angel inquires with a raised eyebrow.

“Um…” Andrew looks around at everyone who is staring at him. He glances at Willow and Xander, but no help is forthcoming. “I’ll get back to you on that.” He sits down.

“Now, if there are no more interruptions,” Joyce glares at Angel and Andrew. Giles is sitting next to Joyce at the head of the table, flipping through a book with a controlled look of worry on his face. He stops at a page and reads it quickly before showing it to Joyce. Frowning darkly, she says, “Well, teams, we’ve figured out what James is doing.”

“Trying to send the world into a hell dimension?” Buffy guesses.

Cordelia rolls her eyes. “That is so last year.” Oz and several of the newer recruits stare at her. “What? It’s true.”

“Trying another Apocalypse through manipulation of governments into nuking each other from the face of the planet?” Andrew asks excitedly. Jonathan hits him over the head to shut him up, but says nothing. His glare silences him before he can even begin to complain.

“He is trying to unleash the tailed demons on this planet to make Jinchuriki to rule the world,” Oz intones.

“No,” Giles sweatdrops. “Now that you mention it, I’ll have to tell you about something my spies had just got to me before Halloween in Konoha. But, it’s in the same ballpark. He is assembling the Judge.”

“You’re kidding,” Angel says with a frown. “He was a nasty fellow, from what I’ve heard.”

Spike grins and heaves his sword up over his shoulders. “Sounds like fun, Poof. When do we go dice him up?”

“It won’t be so easy,” the librarian states firmly. “According to the ancient texts,”

“It’s a dusty book. Not ancient texts,” Larry groans. “It’s all dusty crap.”

“No!” Giles states with killer intent rolling off of him in waves. “It is an Ancient Text! Now don’t interrupt me, boy!” Larry shrinks down in his seat until Giles looks away and smiles. “Now,” he continues as if nothing had happened, “No weapon forged by man can kill him. The only way they were able to defeat him was by forming a large army that sustained heavy casualties. They managed somehow to cut him into pieces and send him to the four corners of the world. If he is put back together, he will be able to burn the humanity out of any being without even touching them.”

Warren shrugs, “Doesn’t sound too bad to me.” He pulls up his sleeve to show the tattoo for the snake summoning contract. “I think that Manda would like a sacrifice worthy of his status.”

“He’s a big fat snake,” Andrew says. “I saw him fight. He’s nothing special.”

Joyce ignores Andrew while Faith bashes him in the head and says, “You idiot, you know Manda better than that. He would want anywhere from a hundred to a thousand human sacrifices!”

“So let’s stock up on vampire accomplices,” Warren says simply.

Joyce raises an eyebrow and replies, “I doubt he’d forgive you for putting that much ash in his stomach. Though, I suppose my slug queen could melt him.”

“Or we could firebomb him!” Xander suggests brightly.

“Or we could throw him into a volcano,” Faith grins.

“Or push him off of the empire state building,” Larry inserts.

Giles sweatdrops and says, “Why do I have a feeling that ‘no weapons forged by man’ is going to be completely overlooked in this group?”

“Because we don’t need weapons,” grins Xander. “We are weapons!”

“And they said forged,” Kendra smirks. “We merely cannot use kunai, shuriken, or swords. He probably also has tough skin. That is nothing for us. Nibi could eat him.”

“So could Kyuubi!” Andrew shouts defensively.

Oz’s sand swishes violently. “Shukaku would appreciate a good meal.”

The librarian leans on the table and states in a commanding tone, “No. Tailed. Beasts!”

“Summoned animals then?” Angel suggests.

“We can summon dogs, snakes, slugs, weasels, toads, and Doki,” Amy answers. “Doki have no humanity to burn, so they would easily get rid of your little problem.”

Joyce leans over to Giles and whispers, “So much for big problem.”

“Yeah, I thought they would be slightly more anxious about such a creature,” Giles admits. “I sometimes forget exactly who we are now. I suppose we should thank Ethan if I ever find him again.” He looks at the group. “However, we need something that will kill the Judge quickly, preferably before he is assembled, without causing too much property damage and endangering innocent lives.”

“I still say we should use Doki,” Amy responds with her chin on her hand.

Joyce nods and says, “We might use them to keep the Judge occupied.”

Warren leans back in his chair with his hands behind his head. “I doubt the judge has ever faced genjutsu either. As Sanin, other than you, Giles, we have a formidable arsenal of jutsu. Or at least I do.”

Dawn raises her hand and Joyce nods to her. “Mom, why don’t you just punch him?” she asks.

“I would, if I didn’t think there would be a chance that I’d get my humanity sucked out of me,” Joyce answers.

Dawn mumbles, “Have you seen your training lately?” Willow and Ino subtly nod but try to look innocent.

“Do you think a mind destruction jutsu would work?” Harmony asks. “You all could easily guard me while I hold him still long enough to kill him.”

“Too bad Shino isn’t here,” grumbles Larry. “He wasn’t that tough, but he could still send his bugs to suck the dude dry. He was smart. Hey! Why don’t we use my puppets?”

“No weapons forged by man, Larry,” Faith points out again. He snaps his fingers and sighs. “Blondie’s idea was decent though.”

Joyce listens to their conversations before finally announcing, “I have an idea. We will use Amy’s Doki to keep him distracted and casting a genjutsu on him. While I don’t want you to get banged up, Harmony, do you think that you can hold him with your jutsu if the genjutsu doesn’t work on him? I don’t want you to push yourself too hard after getting banged up in the last battle.” She nods once. “Good. Xander, guard Harmony and Amy while they work.” Amy rolls her eyes when Xander smiles at her while Harmony squeals. Willow audibly growls at her with fire seemingly burning in her eyes. Harmony grins victoriously and gives her a peace sign. “Girls, enough!” Joyce orders. “You can kill each other after the Judge is taken down. Harmony, no seducing Xander.”

Buffy snorts, “As if she could. Xander is into more mature, complicated, fighter-type girls.”

“Like you?” Larry asks.

“Yeah, like…Larry!” She starts beating him with her fan.

Angel appears behind her. “Should I be worried about the competition? I could always remove him from the equation.”

“Angel, sit. Larry, die!!” She continues the beating of the poor football player. Xander winces while he watches the beating.

He whispers to himself, “Man, I’ve got to start selling tickets. I wonder what he’s getting beat up for.”

A tick mark appears on Joyce’s forehead as she watches. “BUFFY!!” she roars. The room shakes around them.

Buffy holds her fan up to hit him again and freezes in midswing. “Yes, mom?”

“Stop trying to kill our only puppeteer and sit down. NOW!!” she orders. Buffy whaps him one more time and sits down while grinning like the cat that just got the cream. “Now, no more interruptions!” She turns and glares at Andrew. A shadow clone looks up at her, holding a water balloon over Spike’s head. He disappears and Drusilla catches it before it can reach her beloved’s head.

She states coldly, “Oh, Naruto, you forgot this.” She throws it at his head. He turns around to look at her and gets walloped in the face by the rubber-covered ice ball.

He groans on the floor, “What did I do this time?” The memory comes to him. “Stupid clone! I said to prank Kendra, not Spike!” He almost swears that he can hear a voice in the back of his head saying, “I couldn’t resist!” He shakes his head and sits down in his seat, rubbing his sore head.

“And this group apparently has no concept of the term ‘no more interruptions,” Joyce sighs. “Anyways, the only way that I can think of finishing him quickly is by summoning a few slugs to melt him with their acid. Buffy, your weasels do good work, but the last time that you summoned them, they leveled a forest.”

Buffy blushes slightly at the memory and grins, “But we won’t run out of paper or firewood for awhile!”

Dawn sighs, “She completely missed the point on purpose. Such is life.”

Joyce says, “The rest of you will divide into two teams. One team will deal with crowd control if we’re in a public area, and the rest will deal with the minions. If there are no distractions, then both teams will eliminate James and the minions.”

Angel responds, “James is mine.”

“And mine!” chimes in Faith cheerfully. Buffy glares at Faith murderously, while the dark haired young woman smirks back with a wink. Angel stares into his book studiously, feeling the very familiar killer intent directed his way. He pauses, then looks at the title of the book: Something Evil This Way Comes.

“Figures,” he mutters.

“Actually, Buffy, you go with those two,” Joyce says. “He won’t get away with all three of you on his trail.”

“Unless of course they got distracted by Faith and Buffy killing each other and Angel taking the survivor to be his lawfully wedded bride for the rest of his short lived life,” Dawn explains with a wide smile on her face. “Win win situation.” She appears to think for a moment before adding, “Too bad Carlos and Kit can’t see this. This is better than television!”

“Nobody would make a show portraying a Vampire Slayer and her friends,” Kendra sighs. “Who would watch it?”

“You might be surprised,” Drusilla replies with an odd smirk.

Oz inquires flatly, “Where is the Judge?”

“The first good question tonight!” Joyce exclaims. She looks down at Giles for an answer.

He says slowly, “Unfortunately, I don’t know yet. My spy network is not as efficient as it was in my other life. It still has a few holes in it, but it will be perfected by the next Big Bad. It takes time to build things like this.”

“Most of your informants are women, aren’t they, Pervy Sage?” accuses Andrew.

“Andrew,” Giles says while closing his eyes and mentally counting to three. “Shut up before I do something that I will never regret, but you probably will.” Everyone stares at him expectantly. “The answer should be obvious. It’s a No!”

Andrew crosses his arms and smirks, “Sure it is.”

Jenny says, “If we don’t know where he is, how long do you estimate that it will take to reconstruct the Judge and where will they most likely strike first?”

Xander, Willow, and Buffy exchange glances and say simultaneously, “The Bronze.”

Joyce nods and says, “Perhaps. But they would go after the biggest possible target. The Bronze is probably the secondary objective.”

Harmony gasps, “They wouldn’t dare!!”

“Dare do what?” Xander asks.

Harmony stares at him with fire in her eyes. “They had better not target My Mall!”

Joyce blinks a few times. “Good guess.” Everyone sweatdrops when Harmony breaks down into incoherent babbling about what will happen to the poor unfortunate demons who step one foot into ‘her mall’. Willow pats her on the back sympathetically.

“You’re pathetic,” Willow says quietly while patting her.

Oz says, “We have the most probably targets. All we need now is the time.”

Drusilla slumps over in her seat and holds her head with both hands with her teeth clenched. Spike grabs onto her shoulder to keep her upright and sighs. “People, we have a vision!”

“How do you know?” Buffy asks quickly.

“When you are with a woman for over a century, you figure out a few things about her,” he replies. “Dru, what is it?”

“People…wither in pain. They burn with hellfire’s light. A man in blue will stand on their bones.”

“A smurf?” Xander queries.

Giles intones, “Xander, she’s talking about the Judge.”

“Oh, why didn’t she just say that?” Xander tilts his head curiously.

Drusilla holds her head and growls at Xander. Buffy approaches her and asks, “Where? Where do you see the people?”

“Too bright!” Drusilla mutters before leaning against Spike unconscious.

Spike rubs her back and looks at everyone. “She’ll need to rest for a little while. But, it’ll probably be at the mall. That’s where I would do it if I were constructing the Judge.”

“Yeah, the Bronze is dark,” Cordelia says thoughtfully. “It would have to be the mall. The mall has tons of windows and lights.”

“So it’s probably during the day,” Harmony says, finally breaking out of her trance.

“Not necessarily,” Giles replies. “It’s possible that there is a place we overlooked. Or, it could still take place tonight or tomorrow. We don’t know until we find out if James has assembled the Judge or not.”

Buffy shakes her head, “No, the Bronze and the Mall are the only two places in Sunnydale where large groups of people gather. I’ll lead my team to search out any abandoned buildings and sewage pipes in the area. I can keep the smell away with my smaller fans, Warren wouldn’t notice it if a snake sat on him, and Larry doesn’t matter.”

“Excuse me?” Larry asks, offended.

She looks over at him, “You don’t matter. Get over it.”

Warren says, “Your team?”

Joyce exchange a look with Giles and nods in agreement. “Make sure that you have a team on standby anytime you go looking. Do not try to take on the Judge by yourself if you encounter him.”

“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t do anything too stupid,” Buffy replies.

“Anyone with jobs assigned to taking down the Judge will stay here. Tara, Angel, Faith, you three are on a temporary team to hunt down James and/or find the Judge before he can be assembled. Buffy’s team will also be looking for any information on the Judge or pieces of the Judge, assuming that James has not gotten all of the body parts. If he has assembled the Judge completely, we have our plan. If they run into James, contact Angel’s team. The rest of you can leave. Keep your communicators and emergency supplies on you. Dismissed.”
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